Gate ‘U’


The flight time between Toronto and Gaithersburg Maryland is less than one and a half hours but on Tuesday the total travel time between leaving the office and when I reached the hotel was nearly eight hours.

As we were flying into Ronald Reagan Airport extra security measures were in place. This included a physical search of all checked luggage in addition to the normal x-ray-procedures of carry-on and a walk through the metal detector for me. As well at the gate there was another physical search of my carry-on luggage and a strip search of myself; I had to remove my shoes which were then closely inspected. I was embarrassed as a hole was beginning to show in my left sock.

Gate U is where boarding takes place. Gate U is at the farthest point away from the centre of Terminal 2. It is a long walk. It is a very long walk. After several minutes of traipsing through corridors there is a sign posted that reads 3-5 minutes walk to Gate U.

After the boarding time came and went there was an announcement that the flight was cancelled. Needless to say there was some disappointment expressed. The announcer said that she would guide us out of the secure area, and that while there was a later flight that one was fully booked. No solution or alternatives were otherwise offered. Clearly these people have received specialized training in how to deliver bad news; deliver the news then rub it in.

As the long line of would-be passengers continued along their forced march one of my colleagues was on the phone to our travel agent to try and arrange an alternative. We were lead to the main hall of Terminal 2 where we were asked to wait. After about 5 minutes we were advised that the flight was reinstated and we could go back.

So, back through customs, through the security checks and across the full extent of the terminal we travelled back to Gate U where again we went through the full search and again I was reminded of the hole in my sock. Fortunately the wait for boarding was a short one and we where off.


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